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From the Air Force to accounting

Written on Jul 31, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Stability and a path to success drew Dustin Canterbury to the accounting profession after a career in the Air Force as a payload master.

“I’ve been to 67 countries,” he said. “If you’re gone almost 300 days a year, the idea of working a regular job and going home every night is very appealing.”

As his service in the Air Force ended, Canterbury said he took stock of his interests and looked at different careers, including searching the U.S. Government website for job projections and career growth. What he found online is something passionate CPAs and accountant already know well.

“Accounting was way up there when it came to stability and growth, and after traveling around for nine years, stability was a big thing for me,” he said.

Canterbury chose accounting as a major while taking classes at the University of Akron, and said he realized late in his third year of school the career possibilities the profession offers. He said the wide range of knowledge required in public accounting appealed to him, and joined Walthall CPAs this past January after graduating in December.

“I’ve learned the disparity between what you learn in school and what you actually do in practice,” he said. “Now I know what questions I need to ask, and there’s a lot of learning while you’re doing it.”

In his previous career, Canterbury was required to pay attention to detail, a skill that’s transitioned well to accounting.

“Aviation teaches you to pick up on very small details, because small details can have very large, very real consequences,” he said. “That’s definitely helped me.”

And after years of working in “anywhere from subzero temperatures to 140 degrees” Canterbury said he’s enjoying the consistency of his new work schedule.

“I appreciate the stability and environment,” Canterbury said. “Having had another career prior to this allows you to appreciate the things that people don’t really tend to appreciate.”

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